Confidence trumps scouting reports any day for University at Albany senior pitcher Brittany MacFawn.
“I think it’s a mental game more than a physical one, as far as I’m concerned,” said MacFawn, who became the Great Danes’ all-time leader in strikeouts over the weekend with 736, surpassing Leah McIntosh, who fanned 725 from 2007 through 2010.
“When batters come to the plate, their body language tells me if they are confident or not. It’s the same way on the mound. I have to have the perspective that I can get anyone out,” MacFawn said.
MacFawn, who has a 10-5 record for the Great Danes (8-3 America East Conference, 19-9 overall), is also her team’s all-time leader in complete games (83) and innings pitched (682.1). She is tied for first in games started (97) and her 72 wins trails Casey Halloran (Class of 2007) by just one in the all-time victory list.
“My out pitch is the change-up,” said MacFawn, a 5-foot-5 right-hander from Timber Creek in Orlando, Fla.
She was named the America East Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2013, when she was also named to the America East first team.
MacFawn put together one of the best pitching performances for any hurler in UA history a year ago, when she posted a 28-9 record with 34 complete games, a 2.11 earned run average and 283 strikeouts. She shattered her career-best scoreless innings streak with 43 innings without a run, and collected her third career no-hitter against Hartford.
Although not quite as dominant this year, MacFawn is still tough to hit against. She is limiting opponents to a .213 batting average, has a 2.24 ERA and has struck out 121 in 108.1 innings.
“I don’t like looking at opponents’ batting averages and stuff like that in a scouting report,” MacFawn said. “From my perspective, I should go to my strength. When everything is on, I can use all of my pitches. I have confidence in whatever I throw.”
For the record, MacFawn has a rise ball, a screwball, a curve and a change-up. She knows how to use a drop pitch, but she doesn’t like it and won’t use it.
“I’ve been using my change-up as an out pitch since I was 12 years old,” she said. “I’m pretty fearless. I’m not afraid to throw it on any count. Even if it’s a 3-2 count, I don’t worry about a walk.”
UAlbany veteran head coach Chris Canata enjoys knowing she has one of the best pitchers in program history on the hill almost every game.
“She throws pretty hard, but her best pitch is definitely the change-up,” Canata said.
“She has an awesome change-up that keeps everybody off-balance. That’s how she gets all those strikeouts.”
Canata admitted that she would use MacFawn in every game and for every inning if she could get away with it.
“Most teams have an ace, and we’re no different,” she said. “She does have an arm like that where we can bring her in time and time again. She’s pretty durable. In a three-game series, she’ll usually start the first and third games. Sometimes, we bring her on in relief in the second game.
“We’ve had some pretty good pitchers down the through the years, but Brittany is right up there with all of them.”
For MacFawn’s part, numbers don’t mean a thing, except on the bottom line.
“All I’m worried about is winning championships,” MacFawn said. “That’s my ultimate goal — to win the America East title and go back to the NCAAs. We won it when I was a freshman, and going to the regionals was a blast. I would love to back again.”